THE village square in the middle of Horndean was ringing with the sound of carols.
The square was packed with people who had come to take part in the Horndean Parish Council’s carol concert last night.
Music was provided by the Blendworth Brass Band, and the compere for the evening was Charles Collingwood – best known as Brian Aldridge from Radio 4’s The Archers – who lives nearby.
He said: ‘It was fantastic and there was a great turnout.
‘The band were fantastic – nobody really has bands like this any more, not village brass bands, and Blendworth Brass Band are really very good and we’re lucky to have them. It was such good fun.’
Young and old alike joined in with the carols, which included Away in a Manger, Silent Night, and We Three Kings.
There were also readings throughout the service, which was held in the shadow of a giant Christmas tree.
Afterwards, the crowds walked up to the village’s winter wonderland, which included refreshments, entertainment and the chance to buy Christmas gifts.
Lynn Evans, chairman of Horndean Parish Council, said: ‘It was wonderful, and because we also had the Christmas market here as well it brought out more people.
‘It was a beautiful evening, and I think everybody enjoyed themselves.
During the service a collection was held for Hannah’s Holiday Home Appeal, a charity set up in memory of 10-year-old Waterlooville girl Hannah Westbrook, who died of Hodgkins disease.
The holiday home offers families of cancer sufferers the chance for a well-earned break and to spend some time with each other.
Mum Paula Wright was at the concert with her son Ben, six.
She said: ‘It’s a really worthwhile cause and even though it’s close to Christmas everyone seemed to find some money for the bucket.
‘We’ve been coming to the carol concert for a few years now, since Ben was born really, and it’s usually really good – though it depends on the weather. Last year we got absolutely soaked, but this year it was just beautiful.’
The turnout was so good that the crowd had to spill out onto the pavement edging the village square, peering around the war memorial to see the band.
Marion and George Taylor, from Five Heads Road, said: ‘This is the first carol service we’ve been to, and we didn’t really expect this.
‘It’s very good, and the children singing Away in a Manger were great.
‘We’ll definitely come back next year, and bring the grandchildren too.’